Pesach and the Mishkan
So far in our review of the annual Torah reading cycle, “Campfire Torah” has taken us back to “In the Beginning”, brought us through the choosing of the Patriarchs, past miracles and plagues, seen the receiving of the Sinai Covenant, and ended with the construction of the Mishkan, which has culminated in the visible manifestation of Adonai in the midst of his people. What a glorious account! At this point, the Mishkan has been brought to the fore in our thinking and our experience.
As you have read along with us, have you taken the opportunity to imagine yourself participating in these events, along with the Elders of Israel? Did you watch the universe expand instantaneously from a single spot of nothingness? Did you sit with Avraham, gazing at the night sky as Hashem called him, and assured him of descendants as numerous as the stars he saw there? Did you take pity upon the Egyptians as you sat in your comfortable home during the plagues? Did you flee Mitzrayim yourself, taking your family out from their slavery into the freedom of Hashem’s deliverance?
It was glorious to cross the Red Sea! It was awesome to behold the glory of Hashem on Sinai. Yet we feel the shame of bowing before the calf in the idolatry of the “chet ha-eigel”. Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs, good times and bad. Despite our failings, though, Adonai has now given us the Mishkan. Through it, He has revealed himself to us in the manifestation we call “the Shekinah”—the very Presence of Hashem in the Pillar of Fire and Smoke.
Soon, we will study together what it means to serve in the Mishkan. We will hear the stories of how the Levitical service has been implemented. Together, we will contemplate what it means to live in holiness, righteousness, humility, and unity.
And now, Pesach is coming! Do you know that, as we celebrate the memorial of Pesach, we are supposed to consciously put ourselves in the place of those who experienced the first Passover? We should feel the same pain of slavery, and also share the same relief of release and deliverance! The whole purpose of the event is to relive the experiences of the fathers, from start to finish, just as we have been reliving all of Torah together.
As we celebrate the redemption of Hashem at Pesach, may we learn to use these techniques of memorial to help us integrate into our lives the the themes and lessons learned by those who have gone before us. May their lives be our own. May their experiences be ours. May we come to know the power, the majesty, and the love of Adonai in the same way they did.
Torah, Mishkan, Pesach… and us. All come together, here at the Mishkan David as we sit together around the campfire!